Friday, November 9, 2007

Reshuffling the political industry.

When the leader of the main opposition party in Japan said he would resign, I first thought it was the beginning of a much-needed radical reshuffling of the "political industry" in Japan, contrary to what many critics and most media are saying.

He cited a couple of reasons for his decision to step down, but some notable points are him admitting that the Democratic Party (DPJ) still does not have enough strength to run a government, followed by presenting an idea of entering into positive talks with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) about lawmaking, even hinting the possibility of a team-up. While DPJ's victory in the upper house (House of Councillors) elections that took place this summer represented a significant boost for the young party, effectively blocking the LDP from passing laws, ironically, the same could be said the other way around, as the LDP still controls the majority of seats in the lower house (House of Representatives), thus creating a political stalemate. Of course, the law says the lower house can pass laws even if the upper house vetoes it, but the LDP will not dare to do that, knowing how much criticism they would be receiving immediately afterwards.

In Japan, many speak of the advance the DPJ has made as the dawn of an era of a two-party system in Japan. However, if you look at the DPJ, it's just a cluster of former smaller opposition parties that joined together just because they weren't big enough to beat the dominant LDP in elections. So still, if you look at the members, some really have different views and ideas. Mr. Ozawa probably had this reality in mind that they at least aren't ready now to run a country. But then again, a similar comment could also be said with the LDP, since they are made up of nine factions that often compete against each other, though an increasing number of politicians do not belong to any. This said, I personally strongly believe that a radical reshuffling, or a reorganization in politics should be made. The resignation had the potential to spark this.

Many speak of DPJ's leader Ichiro Ozawa as a backroom dealer, but he has clear views and knows what he wants to do and what needs to get done. Politicians who have a clear picture should have their own parties with their own ideas with fellow politicians who share very similar views. However, the reality is, they just continue to cling to the LDP or DPJ, just for the sake of the support (including the financial part) they're eligible to receive when it comes to elections. But, we all have to remember that politics is for the benefit of the citizens and not the politicians themselves. Right?

Had Mr. Ozawa resigned and formed his own party with his colleagues who share similar views with him, independent from both the DPJ and LDP, it could have started a major reshuffling. After all, there are politicians in both parties who are likely to agree with him on a lot of terms. But well, he has somehow gone back to the chair. Now, he must be prepared for all the criticism he will be receiving especially through the media, in a country where the media has so much influence on the people. He might have changed his opportunity to instead be the beginning of an end of his career, at least in politics. But, I had hopes, yes, hopes... :-)

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